Mal Wheeler's practice focuses on large and complex business litigation and product liability litigation, especially nationwide "pattern" litigation, class actions, and major appeals. He has defended manufacturers at trial in several highly publicized cases, including the Pinto criminal prosecution, the damages trial in the Kearns windshield-wiper patent case, the first "no airbag" case tried to verdict, the first defective airbag case tried to verdict, and cases in the medical device, pharmaceutical, chemical, automotive, and appliance industries. He has served as national trial counsel for Ford, Pfizer, and Nissan, and as national class action counsel for Whirlpool. He has briefed and argued cases in the United States Supreme Court, in United States Courts of Appeals, and in state appellate courts throughout the country.
Mr. Wheeler has been the designated media representative for several Fortune 500 companies in connection with major litigation. In that role, he has appeared on nationally broadcast television programs, including ABC's 20/20, CNN's Burden of Proof, Dateline NBC, and 90 Minutes (a European news show), as well as nationally broadcast radio programs.
In 2010, Product Liability Law360 chose Mr. Wheeler as one of the 10 most admired product liability lawyers in the United States. Each year since 2010, Chambers USA has named him one of only three nationwide "star individuals" in product liability.
Mr. Wheeler has appeared on the Colorado Super Lawyers® Top 10 list four times, twice as the "top point getter" in 2010 and 2011. In 2011, Mr. Wheeler was featured on the cover and profiled in the annual publication.
A Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers for years, Mr. Wheeler was inducted as a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers in 2012.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Partner)
Hughes Hubbard & Reed (Partner)
Parcel, Mauro, Hultin & Spaanstra, P.C. (Director)
Wirsz v. Nissan North America Inc., No. BC377417 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles County) - Won a unanimous defense verdict in California Superior Court on behalf of Nissan in a lawsuit involving a claim that an allegedly defective seat system resulted in Plaintiff's quadriplegia following a horrific car crash.
Hudgins v. Southwest Airlines, Co., 212 P.3d 810 (Ariz. App. 2009). Obtained 88% reduction in punitive damages award.
Obtained a ruling from the New York Supreme Court denying a discovery sanction against WTO's client, a manufacturing company.
Rush v. Whirlpool Corp., 2008 WL 509562 (W.D. Ark. Feb. 22, 2008)
McNellis v. Pfizer, Nos. 06-3107 and 06-5148, 2008 WL 927848 (3d Cir. Apr. 8, 2008)
Dennis v. Whirlpool Corp., Case No. 06-CIV-80784 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 13, 2007) - Led Whirlpool's defense team in a putative nationwide class action alleging that over one million of WTO's client's products were defective. Obtained dismissal with prejudice of the plaintiffs' class action allegations.
Defended Ford Motor in a four-month class-action trial involving $2 billion in consumer-fraud claims. Plaintiffs agreed to a no-cash, coupon-based settlement for the California class and classes in three other states with pending parallel actions.
Ducek v. Pfizer, Pfizer Granted Summary Judgment in Case Alleging Popular Antidepressant Caused Suicide.
Estrada v. Nissan North America, Inc.
Miller v. Pfizer Inc
Motus v. Pfizer Inc
Geier v. American Honda Co.
Tebbetts v. Ford Motor Co.
LeJeune v. Ford Motor Co.
Martinez v. Ford Motor Co.
Lebouef v. Ford Motor Co.
Diaz v. Ford Motor Co.
Wolfe v. Ford Motor Co.
Barnhill v. Ford Motor Co.
Hubbard v. Ford Motor Co.
Turnquest v. Ford Motor Co.
Waters v. Ford Motor Co.
Angelopolus v. Ford Motor Co. - Obtained a favorable decision on federal preemption grounds in a no-airbag case.
Martin v. Ford Motor Co.
Teitloff v. Valcon Materials Co.
Winters v. Ford Motor Co.
Garza v. Ford Motor Co.
Wright v. Ford Motor Co.
Marrs v. Ford Motor Co.
Macko v. Ford Motor Co.
Binakonsky v. Ford Motor Co.
Maheu v. Summa Corp.
State of Indiana v. Ford Motor Co.
Steenbergen v. Ford Motor Co.
Gray v. Ford Motor Co.
Williams v. Whirlpool Corporation
Oja v. Howmedica Inc.
Montag v. Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Nguyen v. Whirlpool Corporation
Harris v. Ford Motor Co.
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
University of Iowa College of Law
Professor of Law, 1978-1979
University of Kansas Law School
Associate Professor of Law, 1971-1973
Professor of Law, 1973-1974 and 1981-1983
National Institute for Appellate Advocacy
Annual Advocacy Institute
Appellate Judges Conferences
International Academy of Trial Lawyers
American College of Trial Lawyers
Client Service All-Star, 2011, 2013
Product Liability Law360
Most Admired Product Liability Lawyer, 2010
Product Liability Advisory Council
John Raleigh Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008
Law Week Colorado
"People's Court" Best Class Action/Mass Tort Defense Lawyer, 2011
Product Liability Lawyer of the Year, 2008
The International Who's Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers,
The International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers,
The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers: Commercial Litigation,
Product Liability - National, 2005-2012
Star Individual, 2010-2012
Leading Individual, Automobile, 2010-2012
Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2005-2012
The Legal 500 United States
Leading Lawyer, Litigation: Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense,
Denver Personal Injury Litigation - Defense Lawyer of the Year, 2012
Personal Injury Litigation, 2003-2013
Product Liability Litigation, 2003-2013
Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2011-2013
Products Liability - Colorado, 2012, 2013
Colorado Super Lawyers
Civil Litigation Defense, 2006-2013
Top Point Getter, 2010, 2011
Top 10, 2008-2013
The National Law Journal
Top 10 Trial Lawyers, 1998
Who's Who in America, 1987-2011
Who's Who in American Law, 1998-2011
Who's Who in the West, 1996-2012
The Tenth Judicial Circuit Historical Society
Board Member, 2007-2010
Colorado Bar Association
American Bar Association
State Bar of California
American Law Institute
Restatement of the Law (Third) of Torts
Adviser, Apportionment of Liability
Adviser, General Principles
Adviser, Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm
Members Consultative Group, Products Liability
Product Liability Advisory Council
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated*
*CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards, and policies.
Chief Counsel, United States Senate Select Committee to Study Law Enforcement Undercover Activities of Components of the Department of Justice (ABSCAM), 1982